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Summer 2005 | Volume 28, Number 2

Letters to the Editor

Steven Haas of World Vision [“Between Earth and Heaven,” Spring 2005 Response] immediately set me to thinking about why Seattle Pacific University is so uniquely positioned at the opening of the 21st century. Although I am not an alumnus of SPU, I see the markers of character and values that have always been distinguished about SPU students and graduates — and that are increasingly being appreciated in the wider community.

It was Terry McGill, an SPU alumnus and founder of Sister Schools, who took me last year to a slum inside Kampala, Uganda — a slum as large as Seattle and so poor and desperately on the edge that I felt transported back by the sight (and smell) to ancient times. For more than 15 years, these places have been on the frontline of Sister Schools’ work. But it all started with a talented Seattle Pacific athlete who felt compelled to respond with as much passion to the poor as to a soccer ball.

It has been Jackie Yoshimura, James Pedrick, and Lisa Krohn — the visionary young SPU graduates behind the organization called Acting on AIDS — who have humbled me with their focus on the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. They’ve helped me come to terms with how it is the quality of our empathy that will be our epitaph. That a program like Acting on AIDS sprang up on the Seattle Pacific campus, to grow in just over one year to more than 40 college campuses nationwide, is testimony to the vision of your university.

These are just some of SPU’s own people, fully engaged and taking an incredible message of encouragement, compassion, and empathy everywhere in God’s kingdom. The SPU community is uniquely “purposed” to hear and deliver this message — and to serve as leaders in the 21st century. As Haas observed, “Where is God when tragedy occurs? He is reaching out, through us, to bring hope and healing to all who suff er. He is working and speaking through Christians who are called … to ‘embody his reign of shalom here and now’ and to ‘make his Good News seen and known.’”

When it comes right down to it, I can’t wait to see what SPU graduates will be doing next.

— Scott Cummins, Seattle, Wash.

After the Tsunami

THANK YOU FOR SUCH GREAT, personal, and inspirational coverage of the many ways members of the SPU family were touched by and responded to the tsunami disaster. It continues to be hard to comprehend the degree of human suffering that resulted.

As the international student advisor at SPU, when I first heard the news of the tsunami on December 26, I prayed for and emailed particular students to assess their safety even before making a contribution to Northwest Medical Teams. Finding out that all those I knew were safe was comforting, but then hearing the story of Naam Khampee’s family has kept me mindful of the continuing hard work of healing and rebuilding among survivors.

When everyone returned to SPU after Christmas Break, I was so impressed with the outpouring of support, prayers, and attention, especially from student leaders who met on the fi rst day back to talk about what SPU students could do together. Sending Jared Wiley back to Indonesia to be a part of relief efforts there felt like SPU’s personal connection and response to the disaster, with no better ambassador.

But now, months later, this disaster feels long ago and far away. We know the need continues in so many places around the world, but the needs are overwhelming and it’s become less compelling and trendy to sacrifice. As Steven Haas and Elie Wiesel remind us, indifference is our real obsession. I want to fix it or insulate myself from it, but God calls us to connect with others in need as our path to a life more abundant. As my wise friend Lisa Moy ’00 writes in Response, “The problems of our world are tragic; the obstacles are neverending; and the solutions are imperfect. We must embrace our responsibility to be God’s hands and heart to his people.” Your thoughtful coverage and the examples of SPU alums such as Lisa, Nathan Brouwer, and Trisha Koorn inspire us to listen for that call and to follow it.

— Kevin MacMahan, International Student Advisor, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, Wash.

THE ARTICLE “JOURNEY TO ACEH about Jared Wiley [Spring 2005 Response] brought back memories of hundreds of similar trips I’ve made over the years. My son, who is based in Hong Kong, made it to Aceh shortly after the wave receded. He had much the same reaction as did Jared — not only to the devastation, but also to the thousands of bodies burned and buried with no record or memorial.

Jared’s experience in Indonesia uniquely equipped him to see and feel with the people the great loss and to help point the way to recovery and renewal. Although many responders have gone home, those who continue there are equipping the Indonesians for the long trip back.

One Aceh resident said, “The tsunami brought sorrow and tears. These Christians, by their actions, are wiping the tears away.” There are already Kingdom results. Jared’s trip not only changed him, but it has helped plant hope in the heart of those he ministered to.

— Andrew E. Bishop ’66, Lynden, Wash.

Films That Get Us Out of Our “Cocoons”

I REALLY ENJOYED THE LATEST Response magazine, especially the article on the documentary “Born Into Brothels.” The film is one of my favorites of the past few years (I had the wonderful pleasure of hearing the filmmaker and her partner speak about the movie recently at the Guild 45th theatre in Seattle). The article was very well written and said what I would have said to encourage people to go and see it. I think high schools students should see it, and I think adults should see it. We live in our little cocoons and don’t really know what is happening in the world, and this film shows the story of one woman who made a profound difference in the lives of many children. I hope you will continue to provide these kinds of movie reviews so that we can all be aware of quality films.

— Daphne Wurster, Gig Harbor, Wash.

Viewing the Schiavo Case From Overseas

I REALLY APPRECIATED Mr. [Chi-Dooh] Li’s sensitive and insightful article [“Schiavo Case Hits Close to Home,” Spring 2005 Response] and wanted to thank you for printing it. As an American living in Britain, I was asked about Ms. Schiavo’s situation and how it could occur in a “civilized” country like the U.S. (i.e., one would not treat one’s dog or cat like this). I guess one of the questions I had was related to the silence of NOW or other feminist groups which claim to protect the interests of women. Surely it was obvious that here was one female who was suffering at the hands of powerful men — and no one seemed to notice! Also, where were the voices and perspectives of disabled groups around the country? Why did the media give such little air time to them?

The one issue which I guess I would disagree with Mr. Lion was in relation to Ms. Schiavo’s husband. Though one would want to give him the benefit of the doubt, there can be no doubt that, simply put, he wanted his wife dead. But perhaps the less said on that score the better.

Thank you again, Mr. Li. And one would just hope and pray that lessons have been learned from Terri Schiavo’s agonizing death.

— Lisa Anderson Severine Nolland ’79, Bristol, U.K.

Reflections on a Joyride

THIS PAST SEASON OF SPU Falcon women’s basketball was nothing less than a joyride. We knew they would be good, but how good was the question. The team lost two starters who were all-conference players, yet three starters, Amy Taylor, Brittney Kroon, and Michelle Beaumont, along with two virtual starters, Mandy Wood and Carli Smith, were all returning. How would they mesh together, and what would the new personality of Falcon women ballers be like?

It actually took several early games to find out. But soon it was clear: The 2004–05 Falcons would be even more a running and gunning team than the year before when they made it to the Elite Eight and finished third in the nation. As soon as Brit, Carli, Quinn Brewe, or Rachel Strand grabbed a rebound, with lightning speed Amy, Mandy, or Beth Christensen would drive the ball up to a streaking Jenny Poe, Michelle, or Trisha Hermanson, who would finish with a lay-in. And when they couldn’t get fast-break lay-ins, they would either get inside shots from our big posts, or 3-point bombs from our sharp-shooting guards. The fans feasted all season long on fun basketball.

This year’s regional playoffs almost seemed like a breeze for the SPU women compared to last year, and soon we were on our way again to the Elite Eight. Just getting there was not enough for the Falcons this time; they were determined to go all the way, and they almost did. In the national championship game, our girls showed incredible heart. Battling back from a huge deficit, they came very close, but couldn’t quite pull it off. Still, it was a historic season, and I want to thank coaches Gordy Presnell and Jamie Craighead, the SPU Athletic Department, and especially the Falcon women for a great ride. For our family, and Amy as a graduating senior, it was a thrilling way to complete a college career.

— Wayne Taylor, Father of Amy Taylor ’05, Seattle, Wash.

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